We now have a story from The Washington Post (“The first days inside Trump’s White House: Fury, tumult and a reboot“) to match yesterday’s from The Times (“Rocky First Weekend for Trump Troubles Even His Top Aides“). They are each a classic type for a major newspaper. Throw your biggest reportorial names at the story, talk to every one and put together an over-arching from-the-inside narrative. They are each fascinating, occasionally comic and in some ways horrifying reads. But there is an underlying, not-made-explicit message to both which is perhaps the most important. We are three days into the administration and the Trump White House leaks not so much like a sieve as a bucket with no bottom.
The Trump White House not only leaks like crazy. It casually leaks the most intimate and humiliating details about the President – hurt feelings, ego injury, childlike behavior, self-destructive rages over tweets, media failure to credit his own grandiosity. We have simply never seen this level of leaking, with this little respect for the President’s dignity or reputation, this early.
A few examples. From the Times …
Mr. Trump grew increasingly angry on Inauguration Day after reading a series of Twitter messages pointing out that the size of his inaugural crowd did not rival that of Mr. Obama’s in 2009. But he spent his Friday night in a whirlwind of celebration and affirmation. When he awoke on Saturday morning, after his first night in the Executive Mansion, the glow was gone, several people close to him said, and the new president was filled anew with a sense of injury.
From The Post …
Trump has been resentful, even furious, at what he views as the media’s failure to reflect the magnitude of his achievements, and he feels demoralized that the public’s perception of his presidency so far does not necessarily align with his own sense of accomplishment.
From Politico …
One person who frequently talks to Trump said aides have to push back privately against his worst impulses in the White House, like the news conference idea, and have to control information that may infuriate him. He gets bored and likes to watch TV, this person said, so it is important to minimize that.
There is, to put it mildly, a rather clearly recurring theme: a torqued up man-child, alternatively rageful and fragile, both grandiose and profoundly insecure. To a degree it is difficult to maintain perspective since the contrast between the departed and incoming Presidents could simply not be any greater – either in the composure and steadiness of the man in question or in his associates’ willingness to share his secrets with the press. Would it even be possible to mount a leak investigation when everyone seems to be leaking?
It is a bracing picture, chilling and hilarious. But don’t lose the point: no White House leaks like this, leaks this much or leaks this casually about the President’s emotional weakness.